This runs though the Chargers three and out to start the second quarter.
- San Diego did not aggressively counteract Seattle's Leo package like the Broncos did, but they did disguise formations using motion. That happened on Mike Tolbert's 12 yard run to start the Chargers third drive. San Diego abruptly switched around, flipping their strong side and Seattle scrambled to recover. For whatever reason, Rivers waited for Seattle to set before snapping.
- Same play, Brandon Mebane fought through right guard, Louis Vasquez, and came clean into the backfield. Mebane squared Tolbert and closed to tackle but Tolbert looped around Mebane and chugged towards the second level. As it worked out, Mebane's ability to penetrate and nearly tackle Tolbert for a loss allowed an initially stumbling Vasquez to regain his footing and pull into the second level and block. Offensive linemen reached David Hawthorne and Lofa Tatupu and Aaron Curry was tied up with fullback Kris Wilson. This was bad news capped by Bad Bones. Before things could completely break down, Earl Thomas closed and tackled in space and ended the run. A year ago, Tolbert's still running.
- The assault on the Leo didn't stop. Wilson chipped Raheem Brock hard on the next snap.
- It's a small miracle Malcolm Floyd didn't catch Rivers bomb to put San Diego in the red zone. A couple things happened here: Kentwan Balmer created pressure off left end. Mebane pressured up the middle. Rivers ignored both and found Floyd free over the deep middle. Floryd had run a skinny post from trips formation and was wide open before Kelly Jennings screamed into the frame and achieved a last second, desperation deflection.
- Jennings started opposite Floyd, but I don't know if the deep middle was his responsibility. Both Thomas and Marcus Trufant closed at the last second. Judging from Thomas's placement and Carroll's tendencies, I think Jennings saved Thomas's ass.
- Chris Clemons moved from Leo to over the right "A" gap before the snap, in the first of what might be a counter-strategy to anti-Leo tactics. It looked promising, Clemons pressuring over nose, but Clemons couldn't contain himself and committed a neutral zone infraction.
- That put San Diego in third and one.
- Red Bryant fought through the tight end and the pulling block of Kris Dielman to swat Tolbert's helmet off and end the drive.
- Donald Strickland jumped a short out to Deion Branch and forced the incomplete.
- That put Seattle in third and long. Seattle converted. Golden Tate broke the jam attempt by Quentin Jammer (Tate was off the line of scrimmage, which helps) attained inside position and received and ran for 11 and the first.
This long run happened mostly because Brandon Siler overpursued to his right and allowed a big cutback lane offensive right. It wasn't as pretty as some other runs, but the defense complied. Also, check out Stacy Andrews. Siler's overpursuit leaves Andrews without a man to block, but when Siler attempts to recover and close on Forsett, Andrews is able to extend his right arm into Siler and knock him completely out of the play. There is no substitute for size.
- John Carlson's 37 yard reception on the next play is pure play call win. Check it out. Matt Hasselbeck drops three steps and pumps right. The Seahawks keep in seven blockers. Carlson flies wide open on the left and Hasselbeck turns and fires and finds Carlson to put Seattle at the ten. Give Matt credit: There's not another quarterback on this roster that pumps, looks, fires like Hasselbeck. That's masterful execution.
- Matt nearly Hasselsacked himself on the next play. He looked right, pumped right, looked off Forsett on the left, began to scramble, I began to clench my sphincter, but calmer heads prevailed. Hasselbeck found Tate on the left, well covered, but Golden one-handed the reception and put Seattle at the two.
- Which Seattle quickly squandered.
- Eric Weddle shot the left guard-tackle gap and stopped Forsett for a loss.
- Then the infamous option pitch that pitted Forsett and Locklear in the right flat against about 17 Chargers.
- After failing to establish pressure against the Broncos, Seattle was much more aggressive about blitzing. I like blitzes, but I do not like blitzes that wait until third and long, making them predictable, and that send 11 players, making them liable to fail miserably.
- Seattle rushed six on first and ten. Unpredictable. Sweet. Two players proved instrumental. Aaron Curry (and how about Curry? Each week, a little better) flew around left end and forced Rivers to move up into the pile. Mebane tore through replacement right guard Tyronne Green and sacked Rivers for a loss of seven.
- I wonder what percentage of drives start in a sack and end in a three and out?
- The pressure didn't stop, nor did the creative looks to create pressure. Lofa Tatupu faked right "A" blitz, and though it wasn't obvious, I think that disrupted the offensive line. What definitely did, and what I am putting a formal request in to see more of, is Chris Clemons and Brandon Mebane stunting on the left. Mebane attacked wide, drawing Dielman and Dombrowski and Clemons wrapped around and attacked up the gut, hitting Rivers arm as he threw and forcing the incomplete.
- The Seahawks pass-rush line, Clemons, Brock, Mebane and Curry, pressured Rivers into an outlet underneath and Babineaux hip tossed Antonio Gates to the turf to force the punt.